About Me

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I was motivated to start a blog by reading all the wonderful talented individual's who have blogs out there. So, I want to make this blog about everyone who reads it. My family and God always comes first in my life. I want to share my experiences and in turn, hope to get feedback and ideas from you. I love unique things, I adore anything that sparkles (not over the top though) I love decorating, cooking, gardening, photography and shopping. My number one passion is photography! To me it becomes more than a picture, it can become a piece of art, or a beautiful memory. Decorating, though I am not a professional, and don't claim to be, has been a part of my life since I was very young, and just love searching and shopping for new ideas and incorporate the old, such as Mid-Century Modern and Hollywood Regency with contemporary. Living close to the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, and being of Hispanic heritage, I love cooking Mexican food, and love to share my authentic recipes. Though I live in Florida, my heart is in the desert southwest, and hope that my family and I will return there very soon…keep your fingers crossed that my prayers are answered SOON!!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Why go to Church?

As many people have heard on the news, almost two weeks ago, two St. Petersburg, Florida Police Officers were shot and killed, just serving a warrant.  I happened to be off work that day, and followed every second of the news as this went on and on.  It was heartbreaking.  Though I do not live in St. Pete, I live very close, and just last June, we lost two more wonderful Tampa Police Officers.  I keep asking myself why, and how can this happen?  It's not for me to ask, I understand that, by it doesn't stop my heart for breaking for these people who put their lives on the line each and everyday to protect us.  To allow us, when we go to bed at night, keep us safe, in this not so safe world.  As our Governor of Florida was at the funeral of two other slain Officers in Miami, he got the word that two St. Pete police were shot and killed.  There is just something wrong when this happens over and over again throughout our country.  Not only do we have our brave soldiers fighting for our freedom and safety around the world, but we have this type of violence right here in our backyard.  I don't think I have cried so much as I have in the last two weeks for all this senseless violence and hatred towards others.

On more of a personal note, some know this, but many do not.  Both my parents abandoned me.  That is not a statement you hear much from an adult, but it being the truth.  My Father as a new born, and my Mother 15 years ago.  Though I reunited with my Father at the age of 16, and had a relationship with him up to five years ago when my brother passed away.  Both have stated that I wasn't wanted, and ruined their lives when they were so young.  I know that is their issue, not mine, but nonetheless, it hurts.  Both had remarried and have had other children. I admit sometimes feeling sorry for myself, as an adult woman, with a beautiful loving daughter of my own, why my parents chose to blame me for being born and want nothing to do with me, I cannot understand.  I know that it is their loss, and that their problems are not created because of me.  Their actions had a reverse effect on me, it has made me a strong, independent, caring, person and a loving Mother and wife, my family is everything to me.  For that, I wouldn't change anything.  My Grandparents raised me until I was three.  They were the most wonderful loving Christian people in the entire world, my angels.  They gave me my morals and compassion for mankind, and my love for God,  something no matter how bad the world can get around me, I won't change.  But, I also had numerous Aunts and Uncles, cousins, second and third cousins...a very large family.  Since I don't have this relationship with my Mother, one of her sisters, my Aunt has adopted me as her own daughter.  We are very close, and though she is 80, she sure doesn't look or act like it....she still drives, volunteers, travels, and is a "computer geek"...she is unreal.  When I get a little down, she is always there to pick me up, and make me realize how great of a life I have, a healthy and happy daughter, a wonderful loving husband, and so many things in my life, that so many others don't have, and remember my faith.  Well, today...I got this e-mail from her.  And, with all the sad news lately, and yes, I admit, I've been feeling a little sad about my parents as of late, I think because my birthday is coming up on the 9th of February. This e-mail from her, just really made me feel so much better.  Please take a few moments to read it, the very last paragraph is my favorite.  Very powerful!!! 

A Church goer wrote a  letter to the  editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no  sense to go to church every  Sunday... "I've gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and  in that time I have heard something like 203,000 sermons. But  for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So,  I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs  by giving sermons at all."

This started a real  controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone  wrote this clincher:

"I've been married for 30  years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals.  But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a  single one of those meals. But I do know this.. They all  nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work.  If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for  nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!" When you are  DOWN to nothing... God is UP to something! Faith sees the  invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible! Thank God for our physical AND our spiritual  nourishment!

"When  Satan is knocking at your door, simply say, "Jesus, could you  get that for me?"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yummy Snacks for The Super Bowl...

Super Bowl Sunday, will be here before we know it, and though I am not a football fan, my husband is, and I always like to prepare some great snacks for the "big" game.  Actually, my daughter and I are "Award Show Fans"...when the award season starts, we love to prepare all kinds of fun and delicious food and sit down to watch the red carpets, enjoy the Hollywood Glam...the gowns, jewelry, shoes, and the whole ambiance of it all, plus we both adore Hollywood,  so it's fun to sit back almost 3,000 miles away and enjoy the scenery...but this is Super Bowl, so we have to make it a nice evening.  Even if it's family and friends or just your family, it's always nice to prepare ahead and make it a fun evening.  I am a collector of hors d'oeuvres trays, snack trays, serving trays, and cocktail glasses, so I try to stick with one theme, but I also love to mix and match according to the event.  I will even use the cocktail glasses for fresh fruit, or other small snack items, or condiments.  Though I don't have any pictures at this time of the items prepared, I would like to share a few of our favorite recipes with you.  Hope if you try them, you will enjoy them!!!

Mini Tacos or Tostadas

Fresh packages of Corn or flour tortillas (use a cookie cutter to cut out about 3 - 3 1/2" circles)

Fry  ground chuck (about 1 1/2 pounds) , with salt and pepper to taste
When meat is fully cooked, add 1 tsp, New Mexico Green Chili Powder, 1/2 tsp. New Mexico Red Chili Powder, 1/2 tsp. cumin (comino), 1/4 tsp. Adobo, and fresh ground pepper.  Chopped and mix well until meat is chopped small.  At this point, I will always add about 3 TBS of fresh homemade salsa.  Mix thoroughly.  Keep warm.

In a skillet, head oil to medium high, and take your tongs to make the tortillas into taco shape and fry until lightly crunchy, always remember both types tortillas can burn easily, continue to turn over until you reach the crunch you like.  If you wish to make tostadas, just lay in the oil flat and continue to turn over until you reach the desired crunch again.  Remove and drain oil well on paper towels.  A little trick I usually do to make the corn tortillas airy and crunchy is place in them in a paper towel and place in the microwave for about 45 seconds, it will soften them, take out the extra moisture and make them perfect before frying to tacos or even nachos.

Here is where I usually allow my guest or family make their own, by placing fried taco mixture into the shells, and fill with fresh salsa, lettuce, diced chilies, and I use the mixture of 4 shredded Mexican cheeses, black olives, etc.  You can substitute chicken for the ground chuck.

Bourbon Meatballs

1 -2 pounds of ground sirloin or chuck
Mix in bowl, meat, 1 tsp horseradish, 1/4 tsp Lawry's Season Salt, fresh ground pepper, 1/4 tsp of fresh crushed garlic and 1 large egg.  Mix thoroughly, and make into medium size meat balls. 

In a large dutch oven, fry the meat balls with a small amount of oil and butter, just to they don't stick.  Once the meat balls are almost fully cooked through.  Remove from the heat, add 3/4 cup of Bourbon (of your choice) and 3/4 cup of spicy BBQ sauce, again of your choice.  Simmer on low until the meatballs have time to cook completely and have time to absorb all the great flavors.  I will at this point add a bit more fresh ground pepper.

You can serve these as is, or place on mini hamburger buns and make them into sandwiches.

French Fries, but not your normal fries...

If anyone has had lunch or dinner at the Nordstrom's Bistro, you will know these fries and the Kalamata Olive Dip they serve with them...so good!

About 4-5 large potatoes - peeled and cut to make skinny as possible, as to not fall apart when deep frying.  Rinse good, and let dry completely.

Fry until golden brown, remove, place on paper towels to remove excess oil.  While warm, sprinkle with sea salt, and take dried parsley and crumble between the palm of your hands to make it very tiny and ensure all fries are covered, not too much.  Right before serving, place in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes...they will get a bit more crunchy and warm throughout.

Kalamata Sauce

Cut the top off a head of garlic, drizzle with olive oil, just to cover all garlic, wrap in aluminum foil and place in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Mix together very well in food processor:

1 cup of pitted Kalamata olives
2 1/2 cups of Hellman's Mayonnaise
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
Peeled roasted garlic - I only use about 3/4 of the head
This is a great replacement of ketchup, but it's also good on chicken sandwiches with sliced avocados, or any cold cut type sandwich or even as a veggie dip. 

Potato Chip Dip

2 Pkgs Philadelphia Cream Cheese - soften to room temperature
1 TBS, or more depending on how you prefer of a sweet onion, if in season we use Vidalia, though my preference is Maui onions
1/4 tsp of salt
Approx. 1/2 cup of whole milk, Mix well with hand mixer until right consistency.
Serve with your favorite chips, pretzels or crackers...
We have made this for every Christmas for the last 30+ years.  It is addicting, trust me!

Chicken Tenders, With a Little Mexican Flair
4 - medium boneless skinless chicken breast - cut in half, and pounded thin with small amount of flour - set aside

In a medium mixing bowl add:

2 cups of Bisquick
1 tsp garlic powder
1 TBS New Mexico Red Chili Powder
1/2 tsp of dried crushed Chipotle chili flakes
1 TBS Lawry's Season Salt
1 medium pinch of sea salt
Fresh ground pepper - I add a good amount

Mix well all the ingredients with a fork or whisk

In a separate bowl, mix two eggs well, with 2 TBS of buttermilk

Dip the chicken pieces into the Bisquick mix, then in the egg mixture and repeat.
Once all the chicken is coated well, use a non-stick spray to cover the bottom.  Place all chicken pieces in dish and try not to allow them to touch.  Melt 1/2 stick of butter, pour over chicken and sprinkle with fresh  grated Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, turning once.  These too are great with the Kalamata sauce.

Fruit dip

2 Pkgs. Philadelphia Cream Cheese - room temperature
4 TBS fresh pineapple juice - may need a little more to get a thinner consistency
1/2 tsp of Madagascar Vanilla
Mix well, chill before serving

Serve with your favorite fresh fruit.  We will usually get the little bamboo sticks that have a knot at one end, to use for dipping, not expensive and when done, just throw them away.

Sopapillas with a Guava Sauce and Diced Mango

3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 6 tablespoons shortening
1 1/4 cups warm milk (approximate)
Vegetable Oil enough for about 1" in a skillet for frying

In a large bowl, blend together the flour baking powder, and salt. With a pastry cutter, or just your hands, cut in the shortening.

Add the milk all at once, and mix the dough quickly with a fork or by hand until the dough forms a nice soft ball.  Not too sticky. 

Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and begin to knead the dough by folding it in half, pushing it down, and folding again. Cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap to let it rest for approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Divide the dough in 1/2, keeping the 1/2 you are not working with covered with plastic wrap or a towel so it does not dry out. 

Roll the dough half you have chosen on a floured board with gentle strokes. Roll the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. The more you work the dough, the tougher your sopapilla will turn out. However, to keep a sopapilla well puffed after cooking, you may want to work the dough a minute or so longer.
Cut the dough into rectangles that are about 10-inch by 5-inch. Divide the triangle into a 5-inch squares, and then cut this into a triangle.  Do not attempt to reform and roll the leftover dough scraps. They do not roll out well on the second try. 

Heat some vegetable oil in a large skillet or a deep fryer until the oil reaches about 400 degrees F. Carefully slide the first sopapilla into the hot oil. Submerge the sopapilla under the oil. It should begin to puff immediately

Using a slotted spoon, turn the sopapilla over to brown the other side.  Once both sides are browned, remove the sopapilla to a surface to drain (paper towels or a draining rack will both work).  Keep them wrapped in a warm towel until serving.  Want to be sure to eat while hot.

This is a good picture of a perfectly puffed Sopapilla  

 Guava Sauce with Diced Mango's

1 Cup guava puree
3 TBS guava juice

Mix thoroughly, until it become a nice texture for drizzling over the Sopapilla.

Now for the good part....you can do what you want here, but one way that my family loves, is either drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon and/or chocolate sugar crystals and serve with French Vanilla Ice cream...another favorite is drizzle with the guava sauce, honey, and serve over vanilla Gelato and place the diced mango on the sauce that has dripped onto the plate....the flavor is unreal!  Enjoy!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

HomeGoods...My addiction....

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am totally addicted to HomeGoods.  I admit I go to at least one of our local HomeGoods, at a minimum of 2-3 times a week.  Now, though this is a serious addiction, I don't always buy something, but I have learned that if I find something that I really love, I will buy it, because if you come back the next day, it is inevitable gone!   I just love the fact that one store has everything you need for your home...and your little fur-babies.   We are starting to redecorate a bit throughout our home, so for all those unique items, to me, there is no place like HomeGoods.  The pictures below are just some of the items I've purchased there throughout the last several months, though the mirrored tables were purchased last year.  Some of these same pieces I have found at name brand stores, at more than double the price.  The Chinese stool, is the only item I did not get there.  I wanted it in chrome, and though HomeGoods has them, not in chrome.  I found it on Overstock.com...never ordered anything from them before.  And for $79.00 plus $2.95 for shipping, I couldn't pass it up.  It arrived in 5 days, came double packed and arrived in perfect condition...I just love it!!!  Thought it is chrome in color, the photo shows it as more gold because of the reflection of the floor.  So, needless to say, I will be shopping with them again.  If you haven't gone to a HomeGoods near you...I totally recommend it, I have all my family throughout the country completely hooked and love it when they send me pictures of items they found.  Give you one guess where I'm going tomorrow....Happy HomeGoods Shopping...

The White Enamel with Inlaid Mirror $120.00, Teal
Glass Lamp $29.00 and Orchid Green Luminary Light  $15.00, Inside My "Relax" Room

Was getting Ready to Check Out and Happened to Walk Down an Isle and Saw This Wooden "Margarita" Sign...Thought it Was So Cute for My Bar and Only $6.00 

Chinese Stool in Chrome, I Saw These in Numerous Hotels and Restaurants in Hawaii and Always Seemed to Have a Pot of Orchids on it

Ultra Suede with Shimmer (I fell in love with that) and Nail Heads - Super Comfy...$199.00, Just Purchased Last Weekend

Hollywood Regency Style Mirrors Cabinet $179.00, Crystal Lamp  $59.00, Mirrored Vase $15.00, Glass Frame $5.00, Crystal Candle Holders all under $12.00

Hollywood Regency Style Mirrored Diamond Shape Table $115.00, Crystal Lamp $79.00

Large Sunburst Mirror $59.00

Palm Tree Lamp with Rattan Lamp Shade $49.00, on My Glass Desk Top in My "Relax" Room

Wood Carved Heliconia Plant and Flowers $15.00

Approximately 4' tall Mexican Pot $89.00

 Mexican Multi-tone 3' pot $59.00

Sepia with Undertone Green Bamboo Print, 52" Wide, With Almost There Green Frame $39.00

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Michael Kors.....love him!!!!

Michael Kors...both my daughter and I love his designs, especially handbags and shoes, and she loves the his watches. I bought her the acrylic one with rose gold tone on it, just beautiful.  Though we are both Louis Vuitton collectors for which I'm sure won't change.  Michael Kors is fun, beautiful colors, great prices, and there is such a variety of  styles, that almost everyone can find things they would love. I am so confused here in Florida, one day it's cold, and I have a fire going in the fireplace, and the next it's in the 70's, sunny and beautiful.  So, I must confess though I love the winter months, seeing all these beautiful spring items coming out in magazines and online, I am getting just a "little" excited about them.  Here are just a few of the new items that are out by Michael Kors.  The pink handbag is on my daughter's birthday list too, wow...that list is growing!!!  But I think it would be so pretty with a cute little summer sundress - perfect for dinner on the beach somewhere.  Hope some of these pictures, get others, especially those living in colder climates, to get excited about spring.

ID Straw Cluck in Vanilla and Braided Chain Sandals

Large Tote in Zinnia and Palm Beach Eau de Parfum
Madison Glitz, Clear Acrylic Glitz and Rose Golden Watches
Santorini Large Basket Tote and Clip Front Cardigan and Skinny Cargo Pants
Marina Large Shoulder Tote in Garden and Santa Cruz Aviators

Double Layer Sweater and Bungee Cord Maxi Skirt and Kenton Leopard Print Belt

Hamilton Spectator Tote in Navy and Alligator Embossed Trouser Belt

Jet Set iPad Case in Metallic Gold and Very Hollywood Eau de Parfum - so nice!!!

Amagansett Estra Large Tote and Dillon Raffia Sandals

Sicily Aviator Sunglasses and Kingsbury Medium Tote in Ecru Sun

Monday, January 17, 2011

Spring 2011 Cosmetics....

I  know, spring is still several months off, but already we are seeing the gorgeous colors of spring for cosmetics and nail colors everywhere.  They are beautiful and some very unique.  Just the advertising and photography for some of these products will make you want to see what's in for spring 2011.  I've added just a small fraction of what is coming for spring, and had to include, though it was from last season, the Paco Rabanne  perfume - Lady Million, the fragrance is unreal, so soft  and "fabulous".  If you haven't tried it, you should.  Just purchased it last weekend, and have received so many compliments on it. Since some items are "limited edition",  I know I will be purchasing the MAC Jeanius eye shadows as soon as they are available in stores because my daughter's birthday is in March and I know she will love them, look like denim/jeans belt loops...too cute!!!

MAC...Jeanius Spring Collection 2011

Texas Collection by OPI - Love it!!!!

Chanel - Spring 2011

Chanel Nail Color - Spring 2011

NARS...Spring 2011 - Beautiful!!!

Yves Saint Laurent Spring 2011 - Exciting colors!!!

Yves Saint Laurent - Spring 2011, beautiful tropical colors

Yves Saint Laurent Duo Spring Collection

Yves Saint Laurent Lip Color, Spring 2011

From Sephora by OPI Glee

NARS....King Kong (limited edition), Up and Zulu (limited edition vintage shade)
Deborah Lippmann Spring 2011

China Glaze - Island Escape

Paco Rabanne- Lady Million - Beautiful Fragrance!!!

Hawaiian Tropic New Shimmer Effect Line in 2011

The Hawaiian Tropic brand is gearing up for summer 2011 with the development of its new Shimmer Effect Lotion Sunscreen and After Sun Lotion. The new line is set to launch in 2011.
The new Hawaiian Tropic Shimmer Effect line is an example of the many changes the iconic brand is introducing through its re-branding efforts announced earlier this year. Launching innovative, new products with a focus on beauty and “indulgent sun protection” are among the major changes for the brand, along with a new upscale look and feel across its entire product line.
The Hawaiian Tropic Shimmer Effect Lotion Sunscreen, available in SPF 20 and 40, adds a hint of shimmer to enhance and highlight skin tone. The sunscreen lotion and After Sun lotion both contain mica minerals to add a natural, subtle sheen, giving off a light glisten to the skin. The line features such ingredients as exotic island botanicals, fragrance, sun-activated antioxidants and tropical moisturizers.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tropical Style to Brighten a Cold Winters Day...

OK...winter has set in and the holidays are over with, so maybe some warm thoughts of the tropics about now could be a good thing.  The pictures included in this post are from a variety of sources, one being an artist/designer by the name of Kaypee Soh, located in Honolulu, Hawaii, who has a beautiful collection of Hawaiian inspired prints, pillows, etc., "he brings his genius for color, pattern and texture to life with his gorgeous collection of Hawaiian pillows".  He blends bold patterns and colors for an organic look.  "His colors are soothing blues and neutrals which are inspired from the ocean and beaches, to deep hues of greens and rusts inspired by tropical jungles".  His work just evokes the Hawaiian Island feel.  Other picutres all of a Pacific influence, beautiful colores, accent pieces, paint colors...take me away!!!!

Pillow designs by Kaypee Sho

Hibiscus Pillow by Kaypee Sho

Aloha Pillow by Kaypee Sho

Kaypee Sho's North Shore and Starfish Pillows

Hibiscus Painting by Kaypee Sho

Beautiful Tropical Colors with Neutrals Perfect Combo
Plumeria painting by Kaypee Sho - my favorite

Tropcial Accent Rug, perfect for a Lanai

Beautiful Teal colors for the Lanai or Covered Pool Area

Beautiful Pacific Inspired Lanai

Sea Glass Hues, Glass Tile For the Perfect Tropical Themed Area

A Tropical Bedroom with a View of the Pacific Ocean

Gorgeous Painting of Diamond Head

John Uyehara's Natural Edge Koa Bowl

Modern Pacific Porcelain Stool

Deep Ocean, by Benjamin Moore

Spacious, unclutterd Pacific Inspired Greatroom

Lark Green From Sherwin Williams